The White Ribbon Campaign a huge success in Redditch

THE White Ribbon campaign closed on a high after Redditch Council moved a step closer to introducing a policy to support staff affected by domestic abuse.

At a council meeting on Monday, December 9, members paid tribute to the campaign and its role in raising awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence for the third consecutive year.

Councillor Rebecca Blake, whose portfolio covers community safety, said: “This year’s campaign has been excellent and once again we've managed to engage the community to get them thinking about and pledging never to commit, condone or stay silent about domestic abuse.

"Whilst the campaign has been a lot of fun with the Heels Walk and the street theatre events, the message behind it is serious. For council staff we now have a workplace policy proposal on domestic violence, something all employers should consider.”

The policy is due to come into effect during 2014.

This year’s White Ribbon campaign saw a number of high profile events, including the Worcestershire Heels Walk and a street theatre pop-up shop, designed to show support for survivors and challenge the attitudes that foster abuse and violence.

On November 29, men from across the county took to the streets to walk a mile around Redditch town centre in women’s shoes as a public pledge against violence towards women and girls. This was followed by a street theatre production on December 5 which invited the public to enter a specially converted shop unit to speak with actors performing real stories of domestic abuse. On both days specialist support workers were available to help anyone requiring assistance.

James Cooper, senior community safety officer, said: “The public response was supportive and at times very moving. We spoke to many people whose lives had been changed by domestic abuse, including concerned friends and relatives, survivors who had escaped violence many years before, and others who were still at potential risk.

“Together with our partners we were able to offer advice, support and guidance about local services. We were struck by how many people benefited practically and emotionally from what we were doing. It really does reinforce the fact that we cannot and should not stay silent about domestic abuse.”

The Redditch White Ribbon Campaign is part of a county wide effort and has run since 2011, between November 25 and December 10 in line with the international 16 Days of Action Campaign.

Domestic abuse can affect women and men of any age. Anyone who believes they are experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, or knows someone who might be, can obtain free and confidential advice 24 hours a day from Worcestershire Women’s Aid Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 980 3331 or the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.

For more details about the county campaign, see whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/worcestershire.

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